How things are made: near Rome
Deb and I have been spending the better part of March in Rome for a few years now. Contributors on this board have been outstanding. Thank you.
Beyond sightseeing, eating/drinking well, I thought I would ask the board if there are places where I might enjoy the foodie/artisinal/booze manufacturing process. Process can be pretty cool but it takes a bit of local insight to steer me in the right direction. Non-foodie stuff is pretty cool, too but I don't want to incur the wrath of the mods. I'm talking day trip.
Thanks in advance.
Go to one of the farmer's markets, strike up a conversation with one of the producers and (maybe) get yourself invited to visit.
There's this one in Testaccio that now seems to be involved in some sort of dispute with the City of Rome, so check before going:
And there's this one on Via San Teodoro:
Just a short drive from Rome in the Castelli Romani area I really enjoy the "azienda agricola Iacchilli" http://www.iacchelli.com/index.html it's huge offering a indoor/outdoor market with locally grown greens, wines, EVO Oii, freshly baked bread, pizza and cantuccini, and i could go on for ever, there's also a very nice big park with mews, fruit trees, chestnut trees, a nice restaurant, a little shop for tastings, and so on. It is family run and it's great for a day out to enjoy the Campagna Romana.
Hope this helps,
re: steve h.
We always enjoyed travelling to factories when I was a kid (Beechnut Chewing Gum and Baby food at Canojaharie, paper mills, donut factory, etc, , Baxters of Fochabers (jam and soup) in Scotland was fun as an adult. Rome is more of a govenment center than a manufacturing center, you think of Modena for sport cars, tuscany for clothing - Id start looking at food labels and see what is manufactured nearby. There is always Ariccia I guess the source of so much porchetta. Downie's book has a lot of artisanal food shops - you might visit sausage makers, see how Volpetti ages its cheeses, or artisanal pasta makers making their pasta. Or travel up to Emilia Romagna for the weekend - there are many food industry sites to visit there - we really enjoyed the parmesan cheese complex we visited
Couple more ideas. Try www.turismoverde.it for a complete list of agriturismi by region. Also, Touring Club of Italy produced a regional guide to Italian food (and wine) in 2001 that's fairly detailed. When in Rome, stop by TCI or a good bookshop like Feltrinelli. Finally, try browsing ibs.it, the Italian internet bookshop for specialized guides--you might want one, given your regular trips. Here's a link to a 400-page guide to villages, food fairs, and markets--2450 entries!--in Lazio alone:
Go to Deruta and think about all the delicious meals you could have on the fabulous pottery/faience that is made there. I hesitate to use the term manufactured since it is a painstaking and hands-on process. I particularly loved Grazia Deruta, where you could see the artists painting the dishes. I ordered a beautiful set of pasta bowls, came home, got pregnant, and had a child before I had my bowls! I always serve pasta in them and say that they took longer to make than a human being!
re: steve h.
I'm very interested in manufacture of food as well, and am traveling to Rome in June. If you find anything useful in your travels, I'd appreciate a heads up.
My favorite experience thus far in similar pursuits, was a balsamic vinegar 'acetaia' in Modena - small, intensely interesting, and conducted in Italian with a lot of hand gestures.
I agree, that seeing things made is a fantastic experience. I see a lot of people have suggested trips outside of Rome, which is a good idea. But there are a few places in Rome I would suggest:
Innocenti, a small cookie bakery in Trastevere.
Said, a chocolate factory/shop in San Lorenzo.
Gelato for sure. I would try to contact Torce and/or Fatta Morgana, to see if they will let you in behind the scenes.
If you make friends with Roscioli, they may let you in early in the morning, to their bakery.
I would second the suggestion to visit the market at San Teodoro. Specifically talk to the mozarella folks that are to the left of the front door. They are friendly and make a wide range of great cheeses.
In terms of booze, you could take a day trip to Birra del Borgo.
Deruta is a wonderful idea for ceramics, and if you do go there, let me know. I wrote a book on Deruta, which is out of print, but am happy to send you a list of places to visit.
If you want to visit a tile making factory (old fashioned tiles for roofs and floors) there are a few outside of Orvieto. I list them in my book Italian Rustic, and am happy to post them here if you are interested.
Back in Rome, there is still a candle maker in trastevere, Cereria di Giorgio , Vi San Francesco di Sales. There used to be many, he's the last one left.
Hope this helps!!
Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT